Communication - Presse

ExxonMobil in Close Consultation With Partners ENI and CNPC Over Rovuma LNG

ExxonMobil is holding regular talks about its giant gas production project with the companies involved, primarily ENI and CNPC. News about the future of the liquefaction trains, and their technical specifications, is expected to be announced soon.

The Rovuma LNG plan of development (PoD) must be provided to the Mozambican authorities by the end of 2023, according to our sources. If this deadline is not met, the project operator, ExxonMobil, will have to apply for extensions from the hydrocarbon regulatory authority, the Instituto Nacional de Petroleo (INP), within the next year. But many technical and political decisions will have to be made even before the deadline.

Discussions between the Block 4 partners – ExxonMobil, ENI, China National Petroleum Co (CNPC), Galp, Kogas and Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH) – have already been taking place for several weeks to try to reach agreement on the technical scope for Rovuma LNG. It is likely that the initial design of the trains – which, with a capacity of 7.6m tonnes per year per unit, are identical to those already operating in Qatar – will be reviewed for ecological footprint reasons.

Several smaller trains could be favoured, which would facilitate the use of cleaner electric turbines and make CO2 recovery easier. Like all Western oil majors, ExxonMobil has to placate shareholders who are increasingly sensitive to pressure from civil society and environmental NGOs. Such pressure often leads to changes in projects’ technical specifications.

The partners will also have to agree on a development schedule. One of the players at the table, Galp, is putting its stake up for sale via Bank of America (BOA), as Africa Intelligence revealed (AI, 27/05/22).

Safety first

ExxonMobil has already postponed its final investment decision several times. Anadarko – acquired by TotalEnergies in Mozambique – made its decision in 2019 on Mozambique LNG (12.9m tonnes per year from Block 1), but ExxonMobil has delayed the development of Block 4 (85tn cubic feet), limiting itself to paying the cash call for the Coral FLNG (3.4m tonnes), which is still scheduled to be brought on stream by operator ENI before the end of the year.

The increase in attacks by radical Islamist groups since 2017 in Cabo Delgado province, off which the reserves are located, and the suspension for security reasons of Mozambique LNG on the Afungi Peninsula in December 2020, are further reasons for ExxonMobil to proceed slowly.

TotalEnergies is very slowly resuming activity on the Afungi Peninsula, with the recent return of the first sub-contractors there, the South African firm WBHO (AI, 07/06/22). But ExxonMobil is this year likely to only carry out technical studies before presenting any plan to the Mozambican authorities.

On Block 4, ExxonMobil will manage all the onshore developments and ENI will be in charge of the upstream part (offshore gas recovery) as well as the management of the FLNG.


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